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Barber: Piano Concerto Op. 38; Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3; Jarrett: Tokyo Encore / Keith Jarrett, piano

Album Summary

>Barber, Samuel : Concerto for Piano, Op. 38
>Bartók, Béla : Concerto for Piano no 3, Sz 119
>Jarrett, Keith : Nothing But a Dream, for piano & orchestra
Performers Conductors Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

On these two classical concerti recordings from 1984 and 1985 Jarrett rises to the challenge of these major works with vigorous, lyrical, strong performances. Improvised encore concludes program.

The Guardian, 22nd May 2015
It's easy to hear why he gravitated to these jazz-attuned composers. But the results still end up sounding mostly like Jarrett. His way with rhythm - spiky, pliant - works for the opening of Bart=k's Third Concerto, but Barber's concerto has none of the colour gradations of a Jarrett great.

BBC Music Magazine, August 2015
Jarrett's passagework [in the Barber] has a glittering edge, and he gives the music an exhilaratingly improvisatory feel.

Gramophone Magazine, July 2015
Put simply, Jarrett's fierce and authoritative command of Barber's difficult piano part is on a par with John Browning's benchmark performance. The octave onslaughts are not just accurate and assured but they also have shape and purpose...Jarrett's meticulous attention (for the most part, anyway!) to Bartok's phrasing and note values brings out the music's lyrical, speech-like syntax.

Notes & Reviews:

Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett planned a major engagement with classical music in the early '80s. His plans were cut short by a skiing accident and later by struggles with chronic fatigue syndrome, but this ECM release, marking Jarrett's 70th birthday and capturing a pair of performances from Saarbrücken, West Germany and Tokyo in 1984 and 1985, respectively, suggests what might have been. Both performances were rapturously received in countries where audiences tend toward the undemonstrative, and it is not just Jarrett's rock-solid fan base that was responsible. The program itself represents Jarrett's most inspired choice. He avoids the obvious jazz-flavored choices like Gershwin but instead, as Paul Griffiths puts it in his superb notes (worth the price of admission by themselves), "works in which the jazz presence is more subtle, part of the background against which the music is taking place." In the Piano Concerto, Op. 38, of Samuel Barber, a dense and technically treacherous work of the composer's later years, Jarrett manages his characteristically liquid tone in the difficult outer movements as he makes his way through a work in which, to quote Griffiths once again, "post-Romanticism and post-serialism...encounter one another on common ground." The Bartók, recorded in Japan, is perhaps less distinctive, but it remains a solid accomplishment with none of the careful academicism that sometimes attends the work of jazz artists who cross over to the classical sphere. The program concludes with an improvised encore, pure Jarrett, that the pianist played at the Japan concert, and all in all the listener will be tempted to join in with the lengthy applause. Live sound is not ECM's specialty, but the analog recordings transmit what happened with reasonable fidelity. A must for Jarrett fans. ~ James Manheim



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Works Details

>Barber, Samuel : Concerto for Piano, Op. 38
  • Performers: Keith Jarrett (Harpsichord); Keith Jarrett (Piano)
  • Conductor: Dennis Davies
  • Ensemble: Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrucken
  • Running Time: 26 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1962
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Bartók, Béla : Concerto for Piano no 3, Sz 119
  • Performers: Keith Jarrett (Harpsichord); Keith Jarrett (Piano)
  • Conductor: Kazuyoshi Akiyama
  • Running Time: 27 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1945

>Jarrett, Keith : Nothing But a Dream, for piano & orchestra
  • Performers: Keith Jarrett (Harpsichord); Keith Jarrett (Piano)
  • Conductor: Kazuyoshi Akiyama
  • Ensemble: New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 4 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary